Australian Prime Minister Rudd Salutes Chabad and Pledges Support for Jewish Schools


Australian Prime Minister Rudd Salutes Chabad and Pledges Support for Jewish Schools

Malcolm Turnbull, Rabbi Feldman, Kevin Rudd, Harry Triguboff

Sydney, Australia

February 21, 2008

At his first opportunity to address the Jewish community since becoming Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd saluted Chabad’s Yeshiva Centre in Sydney, Australia, and the social and humanitarian programs that have been developed under the leadership of Rabbi and Mrs. Pinchus and Penina Feldman.

The Prime Minister’s speech was heard by video broadcast at the Yeshiva Centre’s 52nd anniversary Gala, Tuesday evening.

“The Yeshiva is to be commended for its extensive range of programs, not just for fellow Jews, but for all Australians. Indeed in the last year more than 35 000 people in NSW have been positively assisted by the Yeshiva.

“Some of its humanitarian initiatives worthy of particular mention are the Big Kitchen, providing food for those in need, the Yeshiva welfare fund, financially assisting people experiencing acute monetary difficulty and the Gift of Life project recruiting donors to the Australian Bone Marrow registry to assist Leukemia patients.”

The Prime Minister addressed security issues—a concern of many parents and faculty of Jewish schools in Australia, and promised “A schools security program costing $20 million over four years to assist schools with particular threat assessments to cover their  security bills,” with the main beneficiaries being Jewish schools.   

The Prime Minister also pledged. “additional recurrent funding of $16 million for Australia’s Jewish day schools to make up for inequities created by the previous government’s school funding model, which didn’t take into account sufficiently the particular needs of Jewish day schools.”

Some 1350 guests attended the Gala celebration, and found the Rudd’s support of Jewish life and Israel, heartwarming:

“As you all know I am a strong supporter of the Jewish community. Like the Labor Prime Ministers before me stretching back to the time of Ben Chiffley, a time which saw the creation of the modern state of Israel, you can be assured of my consistent and strong support, both for Israel and for the Jewish community of Australia.”

Speaking on behalf of the Yeshiva Centre, Chabad's Rabbi Pinchus Feldman told Lubavitch.com that he feels "grateful to be living in a country where Jews are not only tolerated, but respected and admired for our contribution to society."

To hear the Prime Minister's speech, click here.

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